Engagement season is in full swing, and my timeline was buzzing with beautiful proposals over the holidays! So in honor of the first Wedding Wednesday of 2018, today we're talking about wedding planning.

If you're wondering what you should do after your love pops the question, there are 3 steps I recommend here. Obviously, one of those 3 steps is to hire a planner. Why you ask? I'm so happy to tell you exactly why, hence today's post. Maybe you already know that you will definitely hire a planner for your big day, or perhaps you're questioning if it's worth the investment. There might be others of you who believe your venue, family members and/or friends can help you handle everything. Whether you are in one of these groups or maybe somewhere in the middle, today's post is here to shed light on the role of a wedding planner, why we're irreplaceable and how we add real value to couples. 

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

Photo Credit: LaJoy Photography

This is a topic I'm so passionate about and could literally talk about all day, but to save you from excess reading, I'm breaking this up into 2 parts, so here's 5 of 10 reasons to hire a wedding planner: 

1. PROFESSIONALISM AND DEDICATION YOU CAN RELY ON

When you hire a wedding planner, you will in turn receive: a wedding advisor to lend expertise and insight, worker bee committed to you and the execution of ALL the wedding plans, a bridal bestie to share the excitement with, a visionary to deliver concepts to wow you, and an advocate for your wedding day dreams come true and marriage.

Many times newly engaged couples assume that family, friends or a venue appointed coordinator can fulfill the same role of a professional wedding planner. While the support of loved ones and your wedding party is wonderful, they are there to support you while a planner is there to be the source you can depend on to ensure your wedding is everything you hope for and much more. After all, that is not only our job, but our passion. We have so much experience in executing weddings, and we remain educated on all things wedding, which makes us both knowledgeable and reliable.

Many venues and caterers are offering day of coordinators that are sometimes referred to as wedding planners. However, any coordinator or planner from a venue or caterer is not the same as a professional wedding planner. A day of coordinator provided by the venue is an asset to couples and wedding planners in managing logistics from a venue and catering perspective, and I enjoy working with them. Given a planner's wedding logistics expertise and dedication to the couple, we thrive in managing ALL elements of your wedding so that it reflects you and your vision. A venue or caterer appointed coordinator will limit their service to the realm of what impacts the venue or caterer, while a planner will be involved with each aspect of the wedding from beginning to end.

2. MANAGEMENT OF ALL THE WEDDING PLANS AND DETAILS

This point perfectly segways from my first point, as your wedding planner is the one who will happily manage all the details for your wedding. Whether you have a small or large wedding, there are several details that go into planning a wedding such as choosing your color palette, picking out stationery, deciding on special elements to be incorporated, receiving and tracking RSVPs and much more. As the couple, it would be overwhelming for you to handle these details on your own, which is why a planner is there to lead this process and keep things organized along the way.

3. BUDGET INSIGHT

How much do flowers cost? How much should I estimate for catering? What else needs to be factored in the wedding budget? These are questions that couples will ask themselves and not have an answer for without having a planner. Sure, your vendors and venue will provide you with a proposal highlighting their service fees and rates. But only a planner will equip you with a comprehensive budget projection at the very start of the planning process.

It is very risky to begin booking a venue and vendors without an overall wedding budget or knowledge of what goes into a wedding budget to begin with. For example, if you book a venue and caterer that equals up to $30,000, but you later determine that you only want to spend $35,000 on the entire wedding, you will certainly be in a big predicament. Which is why the very first thing I discuss with my couples is their budget.

We will discuss the amount of money you want to spend on the wedding, and then in turn I will offer up average estimates for your wishes (tailored to your wedding style) and all the wedding budget categories - DJ, favors, photography, you name it. Furthermore, if your wishes don't align with the money you intend to invest in the wedding, then we revisit the budget and your wishlist until we are able to find a workable solution. In addition, for full-service wedding clients you get the added benefit of budget management throughout the process to ensure you stay on target with your vision and budget goals. The value of budget insight is truly priceless.

4. STRESS-FREE AND ORGANIZED PLANNING PROCESS

Planners are skilled in our ability to keep things organized, which makes for a stress-free planning experience. Couples find us valuable for so many reasons, and our knowledge of what tasks need to be done during the planning process is one of them. Often times newly engaged couples may only know that they have to secure wedding attire, venue and vendors, and decor. Then their stress comes into play when they don't realize floorpans need to be created, how to secure wedding insurance, how to properly address wedding invitations, how the wedding day will flow from start to finish, and more. However, as planners, we ward off the stress for couples by being knowledgeable of what is needed for a couple's wedding day and leading the planning process to ensure that everything gets done and at the right time. We go beyond those Pinterest checklists, and execute the important planning.

One of the things that my couples love is our online planning portal where the guest list, seating chart, checklist, vendor contacts, inspirational photos, contracts and so much more are housed. Additionally, they love that this is a system that I update frequently, and they can log on at anytime 24/7 to see everything related to their wedding in a clear, concise and orderly format. As a couple, your job is to enjoy the process, not be stressed with managing all the plans - therefore we take care of them for you.

5. ACCESS TO AND INSIGHT ON REPUTABLE VENDORS

In our Internet and social media driven world, it's quite easy to Google or hashtag search for anything or anyone. You could easily Google Washington DC wedding venues and find a long list of places. However, does weeding through a long list of places or vendors sound like fun to you? It doesn't to any of my clients, which is a part of the reason why they hire me. While they may know of some vendors or venues that they are interested in, they want to be sure that these places and companies are reputable and to receive other venue and vendor recommendations that I have.

As planners, we are known for working with amazing vendors and also networking with new vendors. Coupled with that, we are knowledgeable of our clients and the specific needs of their weddings; therefore, we are equipped to make the right venue and vendor recommendations for your event, instead of just a random list based on a generic search. For example, if I know a couple loves water, then I help them to personalize their day by incorporating their love for water by recommending waterfront venues or perhaps just doing a waterfront engagement session with an amazing photographer skilled in that type of scenery.

In addition to providing access to these reputable vendors, as a planner, I also communicate with them on your behalf. I understand couples are busy and want to avoid stress, so reaching out to multiple vendors and venues could be overwhelming for a couple, which is why we establish those initial touch points to gain the vendors availability and more information on their services to further assess if they are a match and available before even sending a couple's way. Again, a planner is there to add value and streamline the process for both our couples and vendors. 


I hope this post helped you understand more of what planners bring to the table, as the glue that helps keep all your wedding plans together. Stay tuned for part 2 on the next 'Wedding Wednesday'! Share below which of my 5 points you find to be most valuable. 

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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